Braver Angels Debate Volunteer Training

What Does a Debate Whip Do?

If you are considering being part of the dynamic Debate Team, and like to help people feel welcome, engaged and comfortable in speaking out during debates, a Whip position may be right for you. Whips identify and interact with potential speakers, answer questions from participants and support the Chair in creating a balanced, vibrant and smoothly run debate. Their direct communications with attendees have a profound effect on how participants view the debate experience, their willingness to take risks in speaking or asking questions, and their ability to feel engaged in the debate even if they don’t speak.

Importance of Training

At an in-person debate, we all have a chance to do what comes naturally – raising hands, turning our heads to the speaker, being guided by the chair. In an online debate, those elements of connection are a lot harder to come by. Interactions feel awkward, there are frequently distractions, and the environment is neither natural nor forgiving.

In an effort to mediate this awkwardness and less-natural environment for our participants, whips bridge the gap between the online and in-person experiences. This helps us make the debate participant experience (and ours, for that matter) smooth, accessible, and engaging.

This training is designed to assist whips in knowing what to anticipate in the Zoom environment, learning how to interact with participants through the technology, and observing an experienced whip in an online debate to become comfortable with the online format and processes.

Whip Training Process

1) Become a Braver Angels Member.

2) Review the Whip Roles and Training Guide together with the Whip Task Sheet.

3) Watch our Whip Training Video.

4) Attend an orientation meeting with an experienced debate team member to ask any questions you might have after watching the video and reading the materials.

5) (Supplemental) If you feel you would benefit from the experience, you can shadow a whip during a live debate. Please request this during your orientation meeting. 

If you have questions specific to the Whip Training, email us at

Braver Angels Support